Family fighting for justice after losing loved one to domestic violence
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A family is continuing their fight for justice after their loved one was killed because of domestic violence.
The holiday season is often viewed as a joyful, festive time spent with family and friends.
However, it can be an isolated time for people experiencing domestic abuse.
Rachel Madden was 19 years old in 2008 when she married Jason Madden.
It all seemed to be picture-perfect as the couple welcomed their son, Eric, but 12 years later, he would become an orphan as a result of domestic violence.
On Sept. 14, 2022, Rachel, who was 33, was killed by Jason at the Southern Ohio Lumber Company where the couple worked together, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.
“It hit [Jason] that he couldn’t have her and that she was walking away from the marriage,” says Whitney Bradshaw, Rachel’s twin sister. “And so, that was the day that he realized, ‘this is over,’ and he just kind of snapped.”
Bradshaw says about a month before Rachel’s murder, her sister decided to leave Jason.
Rachel wanted a divorce, according to Bradshaw, because she did not feel safe.
Jared Stroup, Rachel’s brother, says Jason started isolating Rachel from the family years earlier.
Not seeing the signs of domestic abuse earlier is something Stroup says he now regrets.
“Just pay attention. You know your family, you know your loved ones,” Stroup stresses. “Watch for these signs because they may very subtlety be trying to tell you that they need help.”
Rachel’s family shared a copy of her domestic violence civil protection order with FOX19 NOW.
She described in the filing the couple’s separation and the violence she endured.
Rachel wrote in the order: “I went out with a friend and when he couldn’t get ahold of me, he freaked out and showed up at the house. We argued for 30 minutes on the porch in which he threatened to kill himself.”
The domestic violence civil protection order further explains that on Aug. 9, Jason and Rachel argued at work for 30 minutes.
Rachel wrote: “When I tried to leave, he got in my car, and we argued for 1 hour and 30 minutes. I went to call 911, and he put his gun to his head and told me if I called them, he would pull the trigger.”
In that same protection order, Rachel says Jason tried to blindfold her to have sex. She said no and the report goes on to say Jason showed up at her home and continued to pressure her.
“I was uncomfortable,” Rachel wrote in the document. “I felt like he was going to rape me.”
Bradshaw recalls a conversation she had with her sister about what she thought Jason was capable of.
“We asked her, ‘Do you feel like he would hurt Eric?’ She said, ‘No, I don’t,’ but she said, ‘He might hurt me, but if he does, at least he’ll be dead or in prison and Eric will never have to see him again,’” Bradshaw remembers.
The protection order says the respondent is not allowed to use, carry, or obtain any deadly weapon.
A closer examination of the document shows in writing, “guns shall remain in possession of grandparents.”
Rachel’s family says Jason was living with his grandparents at the time, meaning, he lived where the guns were being stored.
Stroup says the protection order was one of Rachel’s cries for help, but it was not enough to save her.
“You need to do your job right,” Stroup said of public servants. “You need to do what you said you would do, and maybe, we can save some lives here.”
A good mom, a good sister, and an all-around good person with a big heart is how Rachel’s brother and sister describe her.
All Rachel wanted, they said, was to live a good life.
“I think people frown about talking about [domestic violence] for sure,” says Stroup. “I think it’s one of those sticky subjects where people think, like, ‘Well, you know, you don’t want to interfere behind closed doors in someone else’s home.’”
Rachel’s brother says that needs to change so that no other children have to grow up as orphans.
The conversation to tell Eric his parents were gone was one Stroup says was difficult.
“Pay attention to your loved ones because that’s a hard conversation to have, especially with a child, you know what I mean?” said Stroup. “Like [Eric] knew, but he didn’t know, know.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
As Rachel’s family continues to mourn, they also continue to fight for justice.
“It’s different now, ya know?” says Stroup. “So, we’ve got to take care of business, and of course, fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are resources available on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website.
Call 1-800-799-SAFE to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
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